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States shamed on abuse of disabled.

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M e d i a R e l e a s e


Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs

1 November 2007

States shamed on abuse of disabled

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, today demanded the States and Territories sign a new disability agreement to ensure the protection of people with disabilities in supported accommodation and respite services.

Mr Brough said it is disgraceful that New South Wales Disability Minister Kristina Kenneally has told parents of disabled children that abuse by welfare workers was “unavoidable” [Daily Telegraph 01/11/07].

“Ms Kenneally stands condemned for this outrageously harsh stance on the abuse of our must vulnerable,” Mr Brough said.

“Rather than making pathetic excuses for abuse, Ms Kenneally and her state colleagues must accept the Federal Government’s offer for extra disability funding and the extra conditions that come with it to protect our disabled.”

Mr Brough said on the 3rd of April this year, he put four conditions on the table as part of the negotiations around the agreement. They were: • improving transparency and accountability; • quantifying unmet need;

• initiating independent accreditation systems; and • improving access to mainstream disability services for Indigenous people.

“If the States were serious they would agree to these conditions immediately meaning, in this case, government-run institutions would be subject to external accreditation and review so that families would be reassured that their loved ones were receiving the care to which they were entitled,” Mr Brough said.

“The Howard Government insists that our programs for aged care and child care centres receive external accreditation. Through the last CSTDA we insisted federally funded business services, which provide employment for those with a disability, also be externally accredited. It amazes me that the States are reluctant to extend this process to disability services.

“On behalf of the disabled and their carers, we are demanding external accreditation and the just protection of the most vulnerable. Ms Kenneally might think abuse in government-run homes is unavoidable - I don’t agree.”

Minister’s media contact: Suzanne Ferguson 0448 829 068